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Likes Acquired from Ads Account for 25% of Fan Growth in Nov

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One nice thing about benchmarking the industry is the ability to identify trends, and such a trend is certainly revealing itself this season. In early October I predicted that fan count growth would hover around 6% at its peak this Winter. I was wrong. This month fan counts increased a healthy 8.80%. My miscalculation was due to one, simple reason: using ads to acquire fans. Last season, this was virtually non-existant. A few resorts dabbled, but never on a scale that majorly alted their growth. This season has been much different.

Also note that Facebook numbers and regional rankings for all ski resort social media dashboards are now updated.

Starting a few months ago, resorts, especially Vail Resorts, started pouring some significant resources into acquiring fans. In September, Beaver Creek increased their fan count by 61.5%. In October, they jumped again by 51.5%. Then, in November, Heavenly boosted theirs by 83.1%. This month, Heavenly kept up their pace by also posting growth of 66.48% while Northstar took a turn as they grew their fan count by 73.78%. Sun Valley also joined in, increasing their count by 50.72%.

The Math Makes Sense
So, I did a little math. If each of those three resorts (Heavenly, Northsta, & Sun Valley) would have grown by the high averages of the resorts near them, you’d end up with about 51,000 fewer fans combined this month (about 25% of total growth). Without those extra fans, growth for industry during the last month would have been 6.64%. Slightly above my prediction, but I’m not counting possible spending from Squaw who nabbed 21.04% growth, over 4x what they saw last month.

If You’re Serious, Buying Fans Might Be an Option
Before I hit the rest of the stats from this month’s Facebook Top 25 update, let me address this idea of “buying” fans. Most resorts, in one way or another, are buying fans. Whether it’s giveaways, contests, or discounts, you are using some form of financial allocation to draw them in. When you use Facebook ads, you just have a more direct, easy-to-measure return on your spending. As Facebook user growth and fan count growth starts to slow significantly, if you want or need more fans, ad spending may be an option.

Now, a word of warning. Before a resort starts spending money on fans, I hope you have proven the Facebook concept and can say yes to each of the following three questions:

  1. I have analytics in place to measure how many sales I am driving from my Facebook page
  2. From those numbers I have a pretty good idea of how much one of my fans is worth
  3. If I am spending more per fan than I think they are directly worth, I believe the other value I get from fans (branding, PR, buzz, customer service, etc.) is worth the difference

Until you can check all those boxes, I’d hesitate to put too much of my budget toward this arena. Okay, off my soap box, moving on.

Facts and Figures

  • New fans in the last month: 210, 483
  • Average growth of fan counts: 8.80%
  • Average number of fans for a resort page: 6,036
  • Number of pages with 10k+ fans: 66

Growth by Region

  1. West Coast: 15.52%
  2. Midwest: 8.71%
  3. Canada: 7.66%
  4. Rocky Mountains: 7.21%
  5. Southeast: 6.99%
  6. Mid Atlantic: 6.56%
  7. New England: 4.69%

All the Changes

  • +12 Sun Valley (was #26)
  • +5 Northstar at Tahoe
  • +4 Squaw Valley
  • +4 Heavenly Ski Resort
  • -1 Vail Ski Resort
  • -1 Breckenridge Ski Resort
  • -1 Jackson Hole
  • -1 Keystone Resort
  • -1 Bear Mountain
  • -1 Beaver Creek Resort
  • -1 Mountain High
  • -1 Mountain Creek
  • -1 Sugarloaf
  • -1 Snowshoe Mountain
  • -1 Crystal Mountain
  • -1 Hunter Mountain (was #25)

-2 Killington Ski Resort
-2 Sunday River
-2 Aspen/Snowmass
-2 Copper Mountain Resort
-2 Mount Snow
-3 Mount Hood Meadows

About Gregg & SlopeFillers
I've had more first-time visitors lately, so adding a quick "about" section. I started SlopeFillers in 2010 with the simple goal of sharing great resort marketing strategies. Today I run marketing for resort ecommerce and CRM provider Inntopia, my home mountain is the lovely Nordic Valley, and my favorite marketing campaign remains the Ski Utah TV show that sold me on skiing as a kid in the 90s.

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